Friday, July 27, 2012

Devils Announcers at the Olympics

Before I begin, I want to note that this may be an incomplete list, since I don't even have a complete list of Devils announcers.

With this Summer Olympics starting this weekend, I decided to take a look and see which past and present Devils broadcasters have worked at the Olympics. I found a few more than I had expected. It wouldn't surprise me if there was an omission from this list.

  • Steve Cangialosi - Recently finished his first season as the primary TV voice of the Devils, and his 6th overall with the club, Cangialosi is calling his second Olympic games for NBC, having worked soccer (calling matches from New York) at the 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) games. He will also be calling the Modern Pentathlon for the London games.
  • Mike 'Doc' Emrick - Doc was the voice of the Devils for 21 of their 30 (or 29) seasons, and Doc's been the voice of Olympic hockey for 3 networks, calling Ice Hockey at the 1992 (Albertville), 1994 (Lillehammer), and 1998 (Nagano) games for CBS, the 1998 games also for TNT, the 2006 (Turino) and 2010 (Vancouver) games for NBC. Doc is calling his second Summer Olympics for NBC, reprising a role in 2012 (London) that he had in 2004 (Athens) calling Water Polo.
  • John Davidson - Records are incomplete, but based on one or two very old Devils broadcasts seen on MSG Vault, J.D. called at least a partial schedule of Devils games for MSG back in the team's early days, along side Doc Emrick. J.D. is one of the best hockey TV analysts, and was the in the top spot in 1992 (Albertville), 1994 (Lillehammer), 1998 (Nagano) for CBS, 2002 (Salt Lake City), 2006 (Turino), and 2010 (Vancouver) for NBC.
  • Gary Thorne - Gary Thorne was the TV voice of the Devils on SportsChannel from 1987 until 1993 and was also part of SportsChannel America's coverage of the NHL from 1988-1992 before joining ESPN as their lead NHL announcer in 1992. Thorne called Ice Hockey at the 2002 (Salt Lake City) games for NBC and called Speed Skating at the 1998 (Nagano) Winter Olympics for CBS and Rowing at the 2000 (Sydney) Summer Olympics for NBC.
  • Peter McNab - Peter McNab was a Devils TV analyst for 8 seasons starting in 1987-88 on SportsChannel before moving on to the Colorado Avalanche. McNab covered Ice Hockey for TNT in 1998 (Nagano), 2002 (Salt Lake City) for TSN (as a studio analyst), and 2006 (Torino) for NBC.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New coaches

I think I said in a prior blog post that I wasn't at all sad to see Larry Robinson and Adam Oates go. I thought it was time for Robinson to retire (again) from active coaching and Oates just sucked (good for Washington to get him now).

And today, we know who's replacing them. Scott Stevens (to use a Mets analogy, Stevens is the Mike Piazza to Martin Brodeur's Tom Seaver; the second most important figure in Devils history after the franchise goalie) and some other guy.

Stevens will run the Devils defense from behind the bench. This can only be good for the young kids like Adam Larsson and some of the prospects. But I think it's going to be good all around. Stevens was the franchise Captain for a reason, and if the league doesn't disband first, I really believe there will be another Stanley Cup with Stevens in this role.

Someone named Matt Shaw is the other new coach, running the power play from up above. Shaw comes from San Jose where the Sharks under his power play coaching were one of the best in the league. Heck, anyone has to be an improvement over the god-awful Adam Oates. Shaw also spent a year working for Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota, which can only be a good thing, and also worked for the Wild as a video coordinator. I like the idea of the power play coach a) having a video background, and b) working from above (which I read in a few official-looking tweets), rather than being behind the bench. You get a much better view of the game from up above (trust me, that's kind of where my seats are, though not at high as the press box).

Here is the story on the Devils' website.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

NHL Realignment Possibilities

Editor's Note: I wrote this back on my personal blog back in January in response to the NHL's best efforts to chalk out realignment in the league after Atlanta moved to Winnipeg and doesn't belong in the Southeast Division.

The NHLPA shot down the league's proposal for a 4 "conference" alignment stemming from the Atlanta franchise's move to Winnipeg for the 2011-2012 season. I didn't like that alignment either, and the NHLPA gave some very good reasons.

I had originally came up with a 5 division alignment. Now I'm going to throw out all possibilities.

Simple Realignment
Atlanta moved to Winnipeg, but Winnipeg has remained in the Southeast Division. Move Winnipeg to the Northwest Division to be with Minnesota (435 miles away), Edmonton (817 miles), and Calgary (825 miles). Colorado can then move to the Pacific Division, and Dallas to the Central Division, and Nashville to the Southeast Division. That's easier than it sounds.

5 Division Alignment
6 teams in each division. It's a little different from my original plan.
Los Angeles Chicago Dallas Washington Columbus
Anaheim Detroit Nashville Philadelphia Toronto
Phoenix Minnesota St. Louis New Jersey Ottawa
San Jose Winnipeg Florida NY Rangers Montreal
Colorado Edmonton Tampa Bay NY Islanders Buffalo
Vancouver Calgary Carolina Boston Pittsburgh

Play 3 home-and-home series with each team in your division (30 games). Play 1 home-and-home series with each other team (48 games). Play 1 additional game against 1 team from each other conference. Do it based on prior season's standings, so the five 4th place teams each play one another one additional time. Let a formula and rotation dictate which teams host which other teams. Similar to the NFL's schedule formula. For example, let's say that the table above is the standings. Colorado would play an extra game against Edmonton, Tampa Bay, NY Islanders, and Buffalo; In addition to Colorado, Edmonton would also play Tampa Bay, NY Islanders, and Buffalo. And so on. That's a total of 82 games.

Since there's 5 divisions, there is no longer the concept of 2 Conferences (you can't split 5 divisions in half). So have a super-playoff of 16 teams, with 5 division winners being ranked among themselves 1-5 and 11 wild cards being ranked 6-16 (similar to each Conference's playoffs with 3 division winners and 5 wild cards).

Hear me out. Forget divisions. Just have 2 conferences of 15 teams each or 3 conferences of 10 teams each. Now, there are some possibilities here. You can go East/West. You can go North/Mid-America/South. You can go random/mixed and call it Wales/Campbell.

East West
Montreal Toronto Anaheim Los Angeles
Ottawa Boston San Jose Vancouver
NY Islanders NY Rangers Phoenix Colorado
New Jersey Philadelphia Calgary Edmonton
Washington Carolina Winnipeg Minnesota
Florida Tampa Bay Chicago Detroit
Buffalo Pittsburgh St. Louis Nashville
Columbus Dallas

2 home-and-home series with each team in your conference (56 games). 1 home-and-home series with each team in the other conference (30 games). And either expand the season by 4 games (and probably 1 week in the calendar), or cut 4 non-conference games off the schedule.

Top 8 teams in each conference in the playoffs. From there, it's the same as it is today.

North Mid-America South
Montreal Boston Florida
Ottawa NY Islanders Tampa Bay
Toronto NY Rangers Nashville
Buffalo New Jersey Dallas
Detroit Philadelphia Phoenix
Minnesota Washington Los Angeles
Winnipeg Chicago Anaheim
Calgary Columbus Colorado
Edmonton Pittsburgh St. Louis
Vancouver San Jose Carolina

3 home-and-home series within your conference (54 games). 1 home-and-home series outside your conference (20 games). 8 additional non-conference games to be split 2 home and 2 road in each of the other 2 divisions. 82 games total.

3 Conference winners and 13 wild card teams.

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Lou Lamoriello, Hall of Famer

This came out on Wednesday...Lamoriello named to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He's already an NHL Hall of Famer. Congrats Lou!

Lou is currently the longest serving NHL General Manager (25 years now, and 25 of the Devils' 30 years in NJ). His resume includes time as a High School Math teacher in Rhode Island before joining Providence College in 1968 where he coached the men's Ice Hockey team for 15 years (so next time he fires a coach and steps behind the bench, don't say he's not qualified, just say he's crazy for doing it again). He became athletic director at Providence in his final year of coaching, and took the Friars to the Frozen Four for the first time in almost 20 years that season. He brought in now-legendary basketball coach Rick Pitino who led the Friars to the Final Four in Lou's last year with Providence in 1987.

His biggest accomplishment at Providence Hockey was to form the Hockey East Conference 29 years ago this month, and brought together the first-ever college hockey TV package. He was also the first commissioner of Hockey East and the championship trophy bares his name.

He stepped down to become the President of the New Jersey Devils 25 years ago, where he named himself General Manager. His Devils clubs have been a model of success (they only missed the playoffs 3 times in 24 actual seasons since Lamoriello took over, not counting the missed season of 2004-05) winning 3 Stanley Cups and making the Finals 2 other times. He was a visionary, bringing in Russian hockey players at a time when such a thing was unheard of. That story is told here in Rich Chere's story about Lou in the Star Ledger upon his 2009 Hockey Hall of Fame induction.
“I recall it as clear as day,” Lamoriello said. “I was going over there (specifically to Moscow) because they had given us the impression that Slava would be able to come. I went there with a contract, and I can still remember walking up four flights of stairs. I went there alone.
“I took another step and met him in Germany when they were training. I had (former director of player personnel) Marshal Johnston come and, I have to admit, I asked Slava to defect.

Opening the door for the Russian players helped change the course of the NHL.

Lou Lamoriello was also the GM of Team USA Hockey for their comeback win in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Olympics.

Congratulations again Lou Lamoriello!

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Coaching Changes

Am I the only Devils fan that's not mourning the loss of Larry Robinson, assistant coach, to the San Jose Sharks? For that matter, I'm also not mourning the loss of Adam Oates to Washington?

I just want to throw that out there. I was never high on Oates, and Robinson's time has past. Hell, I was calling for their heads back in November when the team was giving up all those short handed goals.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

What comes around goes around

Read this from the NY Times "Slapshot" blog: What’s Next, N.H.L. Bidders? A 20-Year Contract?.

When I wrote this the other day,
That part bothers me because it's a team owner/GM helping to contribute to the problem.
this was the problem I was describing.

And how nice of them to remind us of the Kovalchuk contract from 2 summers ago.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The loss of Zach Parise

I'll admin...losing Parise hurts. There have been so many opinions swirling around the internet. I'm trying not to read them until I have my own opinion.

Of course I'm talking about the most recent captain, Zach Parise, choosing to sign a very large free agent contract with Minnesota. Where do I begin?

Well, his side of the story is that he found that an old friend (Ryan Suter) was available to come out and play, and Minnesota, a place where Parise grew up, was willing to let them play in their yard...AND give them a shitload of money. Good for them that they got the same deal so that nobody was played as a "favorite".

I think that just about says it all. Oh ya, and this...

Parise was a free agent, well within his rights to go and make this move. Minnesota gave him (and I guess Suter too) front-loaded contracts and big signing bonuses. That part bothers me because it's a team owner/GM helping to contribute to the problem. Here are the numbers for Parise.

I know what you're thinking...that after Kovalchuk 2 years ago, deals like this should be banned. I've read that in the new CBA, they will be (of course, that CBA has yet to be agreed on). The NHL should go in there and review the deals (of course, if they are the same, then their verdict should be the same, and the fact that there's 2 of them shouldn't have anything to do with it). And even if the NHL did that (it may not make them look good doing that during CBA negotiations because it would piss off Don Fehr from the NHLPA), all it would mean is that Minnesota has to re-structure the deals, maybe give up some of the signing bonuses, a little more of a cap hit, and/or a fine and loss of draft picks. It wouldn't make the deals null-and-void to the point where Parise goes to his self-admitted second choice (yay, we're second). And I'm sure it wasn't about the money. Parise is a loyal guy (ya, right). Want to put that loyalty to the test? Suppose that the NHL does void the contracts, Minnesota has to come in with less money (because of the salary cap hit), and Parise has to actually think if he's going to come back to NJ. Ok, fat chance of that playing out. I don't know how fans would react to that either. Let's see on November 11 when the Wild come out to NJ.

The Devils lost Parise, so get over it. The team and fans both need to move on. I think the team and fans will be moving on in different ways. But this is tough.

Now, is it me, or have the Devils never been able to hold the big name free agents? Neidermayer left. Rafalski left. Now Parise left. Yes, Elias and Brodeur stayed, and Kovy had just arrived here when he re-signed 2 years ago. Those losses hurt (see above tweet). Lou Lamoriello has been great breeding good hockey players in the Devils farm system, but how many of them have stayed here? Maybe it's time to lock up some of next year's unrestricted free agents...

In the end, 13 year deals never work out in the end...except for the agents.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Locking up The Franchise

Before commenting on Zach Parise, let me first write a post about "The Franchise", Martin Brodeur, and his free agency efforts.

Back on Sunday, before Brodeur had re-signed, I tweeted this in reply to @DownGoesAvery:

Martin Brodeur is the franchise for the New Jersey Devils. Ken Daneyko may be "Mr. Devil", but without Marty Brodeur in net, there are no 3 Stanley Cups and 5 Prince of Wales trophies. One can make the same point about Scott Stevens, and not to say that was proven untrue this past season with the Cup Finals appearance, but Martin Brodeur is the single most important Devils player. He's arguably the greatest goalie in NHL history (okay, he IS, and I'm not in the mood to have that argument now).

Do you know how much it would have hurt to see "The Franchise", a career Devil, put on another uniform (aside from the various All-Star Game and Team Canada jerseys)? It's unthinkable. To be with a club for 20 years (remember, he came up as a teenager and turned 40 during the playoffs this past season), to be the cornerstone of almost the entire amount of success of the 30 year old franchise, and to leave to finish your career (1 or 2 seasons) would completely tarnish his legacy.

I'm not going to begin to speculate WHY it went as far as Brodeur hiring an agent for the first time, or WHY it even went as far Brodeur crossing the July 1, 12 noon ET deadline to become an unrestricted free agent, but those things happened. And it would have been a disaster for Lou Lamoriello to allow Brodeur to sign elsewhere. News broke on Monday morning that Brodeur had re-signed for 2 years and $9 million. At this point in his career, with the legacy that he has with the club, Brodeur should be the one to decide when he's no longer the Devils goaltender, as long as he's no other team's goalie. We'll see in 2 years if that once again is the case.

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Horns And Tail

Welcome. I'm starting this blog, and I don't know how much I'll keep it up.

This is a blog about the New Jersey Devils written by a long time Devils fan and (now completed) first year season ticket holder.

The name of course comes from the design of the Devils "NJ" logo, seen on the front of their jerseys. The original jerseys ranked 11th in a 2011 scoring of jerseys on You can read more about all the Devils' jerseys and all the Devils' homes in an article written on BleacherReport last November.

But anyway, this is a fan blog, not affiliated with the Devils hockey club in any official capacity. I plan on bringing you commentary and maybe some humor as I see the actions of the club. I don't plan on doing pregame or playoff series previews or regular post-game recaps (though I may write about games that I see, which may be about 1/3 of the regular season home games and probably most of the playoff games). Maybe some pictures, but I don't see this as the forum for displaying photo albums of things that everybody has seen.

I do tweet. You can follow me @DyHrdMET. But I also tweet (on that account) about the Mets, some other sports, and some non-sports things as well as the Devils. I usually use the hashtag #NJDevils or tag them directly (@NHLDevils) for Devils tweets. I suspect some of you already follow me.

I also write the New York Mets fan blog Remembering Shea.

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